UPGRADED PROTECTION FOR AUSTRALIA’S TELECOMMUNICATIONS CONSUMERSSydney, 1 July 2019: Stronger protections for Australia’s telecommunications consumers are being delivered by a new, enforceable Industry Code, registered today by the independent regulator, the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA).
The revised Telecommunications Consumer Protections (TCP) Code, written by Communications Alliance and its members in collaboration with consumer representatives, regulators and Government, comes into force on 1 August.
It features wide-ranging upgraded protections, including in relation to selling practices, credit assessment, customer contracts and assistance to customers in financial hardship.
The Code will provide greater transparency about the comparative customer service performance of the major service providers in the Australian market – through an expanded Complaints in Context index, published quarterly. It has also been expanded to provide protections to more small businesses in Australia.
“This revision comes at an important time for Industry and consumers,” said John Stanton, CEO, Communications Alliance.
“As telecommunications become more central to everyday life and consumer expectations evolve, we are also seeing rapid change within the Industry, with more providers joining the marketplace and evolution in product offerings and in the service delivery chain,
“It is vital to that ensure consumer protections keep up with the pace of change, in pursuit of ongoing and positive improvements in consumer experience,” Mr Stanton said.
The TCP Code is a code of conduct for the telecommunications industry in Australia, providing community safeguards in the areas of sales, service and contracts, billing, credit and debt management, financial hardship, and changing suppliers.
Compliance with the Code is mandatory for all telecommunications providers servicing residential and small business consumers, and is enforceable by the ACMA.
The latest revision was undertaken by a Committee of Consumer, Industry, Government, and Regulator representatives, led by an Independent Chair, Ms Fay Holthuyzen. The process also benefited from an extensive public consultation process, which added value to the new measures.
“The Code is a cornerstone of the telecommunications co-regulatory system – developed and managed by Industry and relevant stakeholders, monitored by the industry-created body, Communications Compliance and enforced by the regulator, with resort to stiff penalties in the case of non-compliance,” explained Stanton.
Suppliers will have one month to become compliant with most of the changes in the new Code.
Communications Alliance is holding a CommsEssentials seminar in Sydney and Melbourne on Wednesday 3 July to provide more information on the changes to the Code. Further information and registration details are on the Communications Alliance website.
The Code, and further information on the revisions and related documents, are available here.
Suppliers can find guidance notes on each of the Chapters and other tools to support their compliance work on the Communications Compliance portal.
Communications Alliance is the primary telecommunications industry body in Australia. Its membership is drawn from a wide cross-section of the communications industry, including carriers, carriage and internet service providers, content providers, search engines, equipment vendors, IT companies, consultants and business groups.
Its vision is to provide a unified voice for the telecommunications industry and to lead it into the next generation of converging networks, technologies and services. The prime mission of Communications Alliance is to promote the growth of the Australian communications industry and the protection of consumer interests by fostering the highest standards of business ethics and behaviour through industry self-governance. For more details about Communications Alliance, see www.commsalliance.com.au.
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